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Hereford High Town fire site work held up by lease wrangle
WORK on a “full and proper” restoration project on the burned-out buildings in Hereford’s High Town is due to begin soon.
The Hereford Times last week reported calls from shoppers to renovate the eyesore as the three-year anniversary of the large blaze that destroyed the grade two listed buildings approached.
Stores including Card Factory, River Island and Phones4U were all affected by the flames but, despite planning permission and insurance claims being settled, little has been done to restore the site to date.
But according to Herefordshire councillor Graham Powell, work is planned to start at the end of this month, when contractors will be “carefully wrapping” the listed sections of the properties to prevent any further damage.
Coun Powell said in his written response to councillor Mark Hubbard – who had asked “how long” it would be before work began at the site – that officers have been working “closely” with the site owner, the site owner’s agent and architects in order to bring forward the recovery of the “very prominent site”.
“There are particular contractual and lease issues that need to be overcome before the planning permission can be fully implemented,” he told last week’s full council meeting.
“Nonetheless officers have recently been advised that a contractor has been instructed to remove the temporary roof and the scaffolding from the building, although on-going support will be necessary for the damaged front elevation.
“Ongoing discussions are taking place regarding the reconstruction of the site.
In the event that this does not proceed the council can consider the appropriateness or otherwise of pursuing regulatory action.
“Clearly any action will need to be considered within the context of the original accidental fire damage and for that action to be absolutely essential in order to safeguard the remaining listed structure.
“There are no legal powers to insist that a planning permission is implemented.”
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